The Blue Yeti X’s real-time LED metering sounds ideal for podcasts and live streaming


Blue’s latest USB microphone, the Yeti X, is aimed directly at streamers, podcast hosts, and other content creators. The most visible upgrade: real-time LED metering on the microphone itself, letting you know when the gain is too quiet (or in the red) during your recording.

The big knob on the face of the new mic is its command center, and you’ll probably use it a lot to adjust levels and switch between its three modes. In addition to displaying the metering, the knob can turn up the gain on the microphone, and as you might expect, it’ll mute if you click it inwards.


You can also cycle between two other modes by holding the knob in for two seconds. One controls the volume, and the other is blend mode, which lets you find the perfect balance between, say, your gameplay audio versus your commentary. Blend is perhaps the most useful and welcome feature on the Yeti X, since that usually requires software or a separate hardware audio mixer, though it may still not be enough to tempt existing Yeti owners to upgrade.

Logitech’s new Blue Voice software (previously spotted on the Logitech G Pro headset) also lets you tweak the EQ of your voice, then save it to a preset. The software offers several pre-made options, but you can also customize them, then swap when the situation calls for a different sort of vocal style.

Like Blue’s previous microphones, you’ll find another knob on Yeti X’s rear that changes how it records sound. This model has four mic capsules arranged inside, up from three, and you can turn the knob if you’d like to switch from recording just yourself to recording a group of people surrounding the mic. Here’s more about the four modes, as detailed by Blue:

Cardioid mode captures sound sources that are directly in front of the microphone, omni mode picks up sound equally from all around the mic, bidirectional mode records from both the front and the rear of the microphone while rejecting the sides, and stereo mode uses both the left and right channels for capturing immersive audio experiences.

The Yeti X is compatible with Windows and macOS computers, as well as most Android phones via a USB-C adapter, says Blue. With 24-bit/48kHz resolution and no analog XLR connector, it’s not quite as versatile as Blue’s $250 Yeti Pro, but it also doesn’t cost quite as much. It’ll launch in October for $169.99.

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While not everyone shared all the priorities laid out in the platform, more than 4 million people marched in DC and other cities around the country, making the 2017 march likely the largest single-day protest in US history. Millions more participated in sister marches around the world, from South Africa to Brazil. As a demonstration, the marches were in many ways a success (Trump, for his part, reportedly was furious). But then the organizers had to set about the work of movement-building. They didn’t always agree on how to do it. The Women’s March had inspired controversy from the beginning, when early organizers, many of whom were white, called the event the “Million Women March” — a name that reminded many women of color of 1997’s Million Woman March, an event designed to protest, in part, black women’s exclusion from the white-dominated feminist movement. Many people wondered whether it made sense to have a march for all women when 53 percent of white female voters had cast their ballots for Trump. Some white women were offended by the criticisms, with some even canceling their trips to DC. In the wake of the events, organizers split off into a variety of groups. One, Women’s March Inc., was led by Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, and Bob Bland, co-chairs of the original event. Another, March On, started by march co-founder Vanessa Wruble and others, aimed to target red states and adopted a slightly more centrist message. But both groups set their sights on influencing elections. For Women’s March Inc., that meant holding a training for prospective candidates at its Women’s Convention in October 2017 — representatives from the group Emily’s List talked fundraising and strategy to a packed room of around 175 people, many of whom said they were inspired to run by Trump’s election. And in 2018, it meant launching Power to the Polls, a voter registration drive in 10 swing states, with its kickoff in Las Vegas. The impact went beyond Nevada, Flores said. Power to the Polls registered tens of thousands of voters nationwide. Meanwhile, Women’s March Inc., worked with other groups like Mijente, Indivisible, and the Justice Democrats to back progressive candidates and policies around the country. All those groups were able to take advantage of a boom in left-wing voter engagement around the country in the wake of Trump’s election, Flores said — whether it was the Women’s March or something else that directly inspired them, more and more people were “just tired of sitting on the sidelines.” Pohutsky is one of many lawmakers who have cited the Women’s March as an inspiration. Others include Connecticut state Reps. Jane Garibay and Pat Wilson Pheanious, as well as US Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), one of a record number of women elected to Congress in 2018. Of course, the success of women — and Democrats — in the 2018 elections had many causes, but experts say the Women’s March was likely a factor. In a study of Americans who took any form of political action following the 2016 election by the research firm PerryUndem, many respondents described the march as “the first time they felt hope,” PerryUndem partner Tresa Undem told Vox. At the march, one Latina woman told the researchers, “I felt a real sense of camaraderie and the fact that so many strangers were in the same place really fighting for what they believed in on women’s issues.” The march “felt so good and empowering afterward,” an Asian American woman said. She thought, “Okay, but now what? Right, what’s next?” Had the Women’s March not happened, “I don’t know that people would have felt as empowered,” Undem said, “and that’s what you need to get people out to vote.” The marches, of course, were not necessarily empowering for everyone. Though many women of color, like the ones interviewed by PerryUndem, did march, many said they felt excluded by white attendees and organizers. Attorney and writer S.T. Holloway, who is black, attended the 2017 march in Los Angeles and later wrote at HuffPost that “the first and last time I heard ‘Black Lives Matter’ chanted was when my two girlfriends and I began the chant.” The centering of white women and their concerns at the marches was a symptom of a larger problem, she wrote: “a culture where millions protest when white women’s access to health care is threatened, but when black maternal death rates in the United States are on par with women in countries like Mexico and Uzbekistan, there is no national outrage or call for reform or worldwide protest.” In the months following the first march,the organizers tried to address concerns like these, and worked to make white women who had become politically active through the marches more aware of issues affecting women of color. At the Women’s Convention, for example, a panel titled “Confronting White Womanhood,” which discussed the roles white women can play in racism, was so well-attended that organizers decided to repeat it the following day. And there’s evidence that the marches and other movements of the past three years have made white women more aware of how intersecting racism and sexism impact women of color. Undem described a series of recent interviews in suburban Missouri, in which a 55-year-old white woman used the term “white privilege,” while another white woman reflected on whether she should be attending Black Lives Matter marches. Both attitudes would have been unusual for women in their demographic just a few years ago. Overall, “organizing as women is always complicated by differences among women,” Sanbonmatsu, the political scientist, said. But the years since Trump’s election have been characterized by “a vibrancy around women’s activism,” with a record number of women running for office and giving money to political candidates. The marches were just one part of that activism. But “what the original Women’s March seemed to tap into was discontent with the status of women in the country,” Sanbonmatsu said, “and that discontent continues to reverberate.” The marches are shrinking, but their impact remains However, controversy around the marches and their organizers has continued to reverberate as well. In early 2018, co-chair Tamika Mallory was criticized for attending an event with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan where he espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.And that December, Tablet magazine reported that according to several others involved in planning the march, Mallory and Perez had made anti-Semitic comments at a planning meeting in November 2016. Representatives from Women’s March Inc. denied the allegations, but the organization got a raft of negative press, and attendance at the 2019 march was smaller than in 2017 or 2018. Since then, Women’s March Inc. has changed its leadership, with Mallory, Sarsour, and Bland stepping down. In addition, the group has added more than a dozen new board members, including Flores. This year, “we’re completely focused on the future,” Flores said, which includes “doing a very different kind of march.” Unlike in years past, there will be no main stage in DC. “We wanted the attention and the focus to be on the marchers,” Flores said. Once again, the number of those marchers is expected to shrink, with about 10,000 people expected in DC, according to the Washington Post, less than one-tenth the number who attended the original march. To some degree, that’s to be expected, as those who once marched now channel their energy into other activities — including running for office. “I don’t know that we can judge the state of women’s political activism today just based on numbers at a particular march,” Sanbonmatsu said. And while the march was initially conceived as a single event, Women’s March Inc. now sees it as a larger movement of which the January demonstrations are only a part. “The marches have their place to just have people gather, and to feel like they’re part of something bigger, but ultimately a march in and of itself doesn’t accomplish anything,” Flores said. “We have to focus on the continued work.” In 2020, that work will include grassroots efforts in swing states to defeat Trump and elect progressive candidates, Flores said. But it will also include thinking about what happens if a Democrat does win in November. “There might not be a march next year, because hopefully we don’t need one,” Flores said. But even if there’s no protest in January 2021, Women’s March Inc. will continue to push for immigrants’ rights, reproductive justice, action on climate change, and other priorities, she said. “There will always be a need for accountability.” For Pohutsky, 2020 means getting back out on the campaign trail for her reelection bid. In the Michigan legislature, she’s championed bills to strengthen environmental protections and get rid of a loophole in state law that makes it legal to drug and rape a spouse. She hopes to continue that work, but she won by the smallest margin of any flipped seat two years ago, “so we’re going to be campaigning hard this year,” she said. As for the election more broadly, “I hope that the energy that everybody felt that compelled them to go out to these marches just maintains,” she said, “and people just remember why it’s important that we get out and vote.”
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Gun violence is a crisis that you can see and hear. There’s surveillance footage of the Columbine killings, and the assailants taped home videos bragging about what they were about to do. When a Las Vegas music festival was targeted in 2017, audience video showed the moment when shots began raining down. The alleged Christchurch gunman livestreamed his attack on a mosque in New Zealand last year, and the footage looked like a video game. Such visibility has not curbed violence, clearly. In fact, the way the internet rewards audiovisual spectacle may be an incentive to evil.Art that portrays such killings would, then, seem to have a high bar to clear. They inevitably risk glorifying—aestheticizing, narrativizing, making catchy—that which they condemn. There’s a question of futility too: By what logic would, say, a music video portraying mass shootings shock anyone into activism more than the actual shootings do? Last year, Madonna’s “God Control” video imagined a massacre at a disco club and ended with a call for new firearms regulations. “This is really happening,” the pop star told People. “This is what it looks like. Does it make you feel bad? Good, ’cause then maybe you will do something about it.” Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, replied by tweeting, “Madonna’s new video for her song #GodControl was fucked up, it was horrible.”Eminem has followed in Madonna’s example with the music video for “Darkness,” the first single off an album, Music to Be Murdered By, that he surprise-released today. It recreates the Las Vegas slaying of 58 people, with an actor playing Stephen Paddock, the perpetrator. Eminem raps from the perspective of Paddock as he prepared and then fired from a hotel room across the street from the festival. The verses and visuals string together specific references: The shooter didn’t know his father well, he used Valium and booze, he was a licensed gun owner, he had no known motive, he wrote down targeting calculations, he began to shoot at 10:05 p.m.The song and the video do not simply re-stage the massacre, though. Eminem is attempting a double entendre in which most of the lyrics could equally refer to the rapper himself, sitting in a hotel room, nervous before a concert. He looks out on the crowd early in the night and frets that it’s too sparse: “You can’t murder a show nobody’s at.” He seems to be empathizing with a mass killer by comparing the rapper’s own sense of mental embattlement to the perpetrator’s. This exercise results in no greater understanding of why tragedies like this happen. There’s just ineffable darkness, and the availability of guns allows it to have horrific consequence.Perhaps the point is more that Eminem’s anxiety about performing stems from the fact that concerts have become killing grounds. Probably, though, the main idea is simply to spin a riveting narrative that focuses attention on the message delivered at the end of the video. Eminem looks upon a wall of televisions arranged in the shape of the United States; each screen shows news footage from a shooting. An on-screen message: “WHEN WILL THIS END? WHEN ENOUGH PEOPLE CARE.” Text then directs people to register to vote in order to “change gun laws in America.” Eminem’s website features links to anti-gun-violence organizations including Giffords Law Center, Brady United Against Gun Violence, and March for Our Lives.The anti-violence message may seem rich coming from Eminem, whose lyrics over more than two decades have notoriously depicted graphic murder and mayhem. But he has a political conscience—see his anti-Trump broadsides of recent years—and can reach an audience that many other outspoken performers can’t. Mass shooters tend to be angry, and often white, men—which is also how a significant segment of Eminem’s fanbase can be described. His confrontational style combined with his appeal to a demographic that is not, stereotypically, super-woke does make him uniquely positioned to have an impact.But that power cuts multiple ways. Experts on mass shootings say that in addition to enacting stronger gun laws, one of the best ways to prevent future tragedies is to deny fame to murderers. The copycat phenomenon is real, and when the media broadcasts the names and faces of criminals and obsesses over their backstories, would-be killers get the message that they could become more famous than any of the people whose lives they take. If Eminem jolts his fans into taking action to support gun control, that effect will have to be weighed against this grim fact: One of today’s bestselling musicians has humanized the perpetrator of the deadliest mass killing in modern U.S. history.
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If you’re shivering from the frigid temperatures of mid-January, allow yourself to bask in the warmth and expansive glow of the love expressed by Barack Obama for his wife, Michelle, on her birthday. In a sweet and heartwarming Instagram post on Friday, Barack affirmed his love, admiration, and appreciation for Michelle alongside a set of…
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